Northwest Florida Officials Still Worry about Future of Eglin R&D Mission

Officials in Northwest Florida remain suspicious that the reorganization of Air Force Materiel Command (AFMC) threatens the longevity of the R&D mission at Eglin Air Force Base.

Earlier this week, AFMC announced that its plan to place Eglin’s 46th Test Wing under the command of a two-star general at Edwards AFB, Calif., will go ahead next month. The dual mission of test and air armament development at the Air Armament Center at Eglin will become part of the Air Force Test Center at Edwards and the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, according to the consolidation plan.

Local officials are concerned the move is a precursor to shifting the installation’s research, development, testing and evaluation function to Edwards.

“The Southern California delegation in Congress has been after our assets for their economic development for years,” David Goetsch, the president of Okaloosa County’s Economic Development Council and head of a state task force set up to protect Florida’s military installations, told Northwest Florida Daily News.

Earlier this year, Florida Rep. Jeff Miller (R) introduced language in the House version of the fiscal 2013 defense authorization bill to require the Air Force to keep the Air Armament Center at Eglin.

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